Marks Wins ‘Nobel Precursor’ For Breakthroughs in Chemistry

February 5, 2018

Northwestern’s Tobin J. Marks will receive the 2017 Harvey Prize in Science and Technology from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in recognition of his breakthrough discoveries in chemistry.

Marks is the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and professor of Applied Physics.

Throughout his nearly five-decade long academic career, Marks has made major contributions in the field of materials chemical science — specifically catalysts and catalytic processes, opto-electronic materials and organometallic chemistry. He has created new plastics, catalysts for environmentally benign chemical transformations and efficient plastic solar cells, as well as printable transistors and organic light-emitting diodes that are faster, more energy efficient, and more versatile.

“I am delighted to join the distinguished cohort of Harvey Prize winners, and to receive this distinction which honors achievements in all fields of science and technology,” says Marks, who will accept the prize on June 10 at the Technion in Haifa, Israel.

Marks is among four 2017 Harvey Prize winners awarded for contributions to science and technology, human health, Middle East peace, and the economy or society. The $75,000 prize, named after longtime Technion supporter Leo Harvey (1887-1973), was established in 1972 as a bridge of goodwill between Israel and other nations, and is granted annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to humankind. The Harvey Prize is considered by many as a precursor to the Nobel Prize, with some 20 percent of Harvey laureates later becoming Nobel laureates. Shortly after winning last year’s Harvey Prize, Rainer Weiss and Kip Stephen Thorne, who led the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015 in the framework of the LIGO collaboration, were granted the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Marks is being specifically recognized by Technion for his “groundbreaking research that has both fundamental and practical significance, in the areas of catalysis, organo-f-element chemistry, electronic and photonic materials, and coordination chemistry, all of which have strongly impacted contemporary chemical science.”

Marks has received numerous highly prestigious awards for his research, including the Priestley Medal of the American Chemical Society, the US National Medal of Science, the US National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemical Sciences, the Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences, the Spanish Prince of Asturias Prize, the German Karl Ziegler Prize and many other European and Asian awards, recognitions, and honorary degrees. In 2011, he won the Schulich Excellence Award from the Technion.